Amanda Oliver in Conversation with Meg Metcalf

  • March 26, 2022

The author of Overdue: Reckoning with the Public Library speaks virtually on Tues., Mar. 29th, at 6 p.m. (EDT)!

Amanda Oliver in Conversation with Meg Metcalf

Who are libraries for, how have they evolved, and why do they fill so many roles in our society today?

Based on firsthand experiences from six years of professional work as a librarian in high-poverty neighborhoods of Washington, DC, as well as interviews and research, Overdue begins with Oliver's first day at an "unusual" branch: Northwest One.

Using her experience at this branch allows Oliver to highlight the national problems that have existed in libraries since they were founded: racism, segregation, and class inequalities. These age-old problems have evolved into police violence, the opioid epidemic, rampant houselessness, and lack of mental-health care nationwide — all of which come to a head in public library spaces.

Can public librarians continue to play the many roles they are tasked with? Can American society sustain one of its most noble institutions?

Amanda Oliver is a writer and former librarian. Her writing has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, Vox, Electric Literature, Medium, and the Rumpus. She has been interviewed about libraries and being a librarian for NPR, CBC Radio, Associated Press, and American Libraries Magazine. Oliver is a graduate of the MLS program at SUNY Buffalo and the MFA program at UC Riverside. A Buffalo, New York native, she now lives and writes in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree.

Meg Metcalf (they/them) is a librarian, artist and activist in Washington, DC, where they work as the Women's, Gender and LGBTQIA+ Studies Librarian and Collection Specialist at the Library of Congress. Meg is the current chair of LC-GLOBE, the employee organization for LGBTQIA+ Library Staff. Meg holds a B.A. and M.A. in Women's and Gender Studies as well as a Masters in Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Keep up with their queer and feminist history finds @queeriodicals on social media or at

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